Arsenal have gone through a number of changes in goal over the summer, but assuming there aren’t any more, how will Arsenal line up at all levels next season?
To round up the movement in the transfer window so far, Arsenal first signed a 16-year-old goalkeeper by the name of Karl Jakob Hein. They followed that up with the signing of first-team goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
Then, at the end of June, the club let Hugo Keto, Alex Crean and Ryan Huddart leave as the trio came to the end of their contracts with the club. Then Matt Macey moved to Plymouth Argyle on loan.
Let’s look at where that leaves the three Arsenal teams in 2018/19.
Right now, it seems like Petr Čech is set to start the season as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper, just as he ended last season. He’s featured in many games during pre-season, and appears to have the edge over Bernd Leno, after some top performances.
However, Leno will be looking to respond with a similarly solid display if he starts at the weekend against Lazio. Emi Martinez looks like the third choice goalkeeper for the season, after returning from his loan to Getafe.
David Ospina is still technically at the club, but it appears inevitable he’ll leave in the coming week, so for now we’ll leave him out of our assessment.
Based on pre-season so far, Deyan Iliev looks like the most likely first-choice for the u23s. The 23-year-old started Tuesday’s match against AFC Hornchurch, making a penalty save, and signed a new contract with the club last month.
Karl Jakob Hein looks to be in contention for a back-up spot, despite his age, after coming on at the end of Tuesday’s friendly.
However, he’ll face big competition from Joao Virginia, who ended last season in goal for the team. Virginia only missed out on pre-season so far because he was in goal for Portugal as they won the u19 European Championships.
Assuming Iliev has the u23 first-choice spot locked down, Virginia will likely start for the u18s, but Hein is also a strong possibility, depending on which goalkeeper is on the bench for the u23s.
One of the two will probably be back up for the top academy side, whilst the other ends up first-choice for the u18s.
Behind those two are Arthur Okonkwo and Daniel Barden. Okonkwo recently ended a contract stand-off to sign scholarship terms with Arsenal, and he’s highly rated at the club.
Fans got a glimpse of why during the goalkeeper’s spell in the u19 team for the Dallas Cup. Okonkwo particularly impressed during a penalty shoot-out against Manchester United during the tournament, sending Arsenal through to the final.
Barden made seven appearances for the u18s last campaign, and he’ll be looking to improve on that this year, but certainly faces a big challenge from Virginia and Okonkwo.